Even if you never saw the movie, you will doubtless know of the Titanic disaster, which occurred in the early morning of 15 April 1912. RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner, belong to the White Star Line. While on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, she struck (or was struck by) an iceberg in the north Atlantic Ocean, about 375 miles south of Newfoundland. Of the estimated 2224 passengers and crew aboard, more than 1500 died, making the calamity one of the deadliest commercial peacetime maritime disasters in modern history.
Morgan Robertson, pictured at right, was not one of the 800 or so survivors of the shipwreck. He never sailed on the Titanic. Indeed, he may never have heard of the ship until he saw the newspaper reports on that fateful day. Mr Robertson was an American author of short stories and novels, and the self-proclaimed inventor of the periscope. One of his works, virtually unknown until after the event, was a novella, published in 1898 -- 14 years before the event -- called Futility or the Wreck of the Titan.
After the Titanic sank, some said that Morgan Robertson was something of an amateur mystic. Others said he must have been clairvoyant. Although no other predictions or "premonitions" were ever attributed to him, the similarities between his fictional SS Titan, which struck an iceberg and sank, and the ill-fated Titanic are simply amazing. The authors of The Riddle of the Titanic have put them in tabular form, which Ed. has recreated for us.
"It would be very satisfying," the authors write, "to be able to say whether any of the key figures in the Titanic saga knew of this Awful Warning before the event it "foresaw", but we found no such indications. Walt recommends: The Riddle of the Titanic, by Robin Gardiner and Dan van der Vat, Orion Books, 1996. For an in-depth study, the book is eminently readable and highly recommendable.